MTV Viper Connect

Sammie and Gary Cooper of MTC Optics have developed their successful riflescope business based on the twin pillars of innovative products and outstanding customer service. The company recently introduced their Taipan scope, aggressively-priced with lots of extras, and they have now followed up with the Viper Connect hunting scope. Once again, innovation is the key word here. When Sammie needed some website photos taking, I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of the prototypes, and this is what I discovered.

Field of View

Take one look at the Viper Connect and you know this is no normal scope. Short and businesslike at 290mm (11.4”) long, its appearance is totally different to any other scope currently available. A closer inspection reveals a built-in objective lens cover, an eyepiece designed for close-up use and an overall design that implies a unique approach to mounting. Raising the scope to the eye, however, highlights the Viper Connect’s real ace in the hole: an incredible field of view. But more of that later. The scope has the aforementioned built-in, spring loaded cover at the front, then space for some mounts, and then a double saddle. The forward saddle contains the chunky focusing knob plus the adjustment turrets concealed under substantial but low profile covers, a big bonus for hunters. The focus adjustment has just the right amount of resistance and can easily be adjusted wearing gloves. The rear turret has the IR on/off button to one side, and the 12-step IR intensity control and battery housing on top.

When MTC Optics set out to design a totally hunting-oriented scope, they knew they wanted a 3-12X zoom range, and they also specified a 32mm objective to allow the scope to lie as close to the barrel as possible whilst maximising depth of field. But their customers wanted a wider field of view than many scopes offered, and so with some clever engineering, the Viper Connect offers a massive field of view. It seemed amazing when I looked through it, but being the Doubting Thomas I am, I had to put it to the test. I designed a Heath Robinson test rig to hold scopes in a fixed position, lined up the Viper Connect on a target 28 yards away and set the zoom to 10X. (Incidentally, the zoom ring has a tiny detent as it passes through the 10X setting, letting the user know exactly when they arrive at this critical point. Neat.) I got out my camera gear, and after some experimentation took a picture of the image I saw.

I then repeated the experiment with a regular Viper 10x44. As can be seen from the photos, the image of the target is just the same size, but the field of view from the Viper Connect is much, much wider. In the field, this offers massive benefits in both selecting and acquiring targets, again pointing to the scope’s hunting-led design. The image is both bright and detailed, with excellent contrast. I really was delighted to see such a fine image from the Viper Connect, with excellent clarity in a variety of light conditions from bright sunlight to gloom. Oh, the joys of British weather.

Two other features also focus on hunting use. The Viper Connect uses MTC Optics’ Advanced Mil Dot (AMD) reticle, a detailed design with all the holdover and windage marks required, but fine enough to avoid obscuring a target. The Viper Connect’s eyepiece is designed for the user’s eye to be placed right up against the rubber, but also screws out for spectacle wearers to optimise their ideal focus point. This makes the scope fast to use whether you wear glasses or not, but it also means it’s only usable with recoilless rifles – so forget putting this scope on a springer.

Mounting the Scope

So that’s enough of the description, what is the Viper Connect like when mounted on a gun? Sammie had issued strict orders that I was not to mount the scope (as I was only supposed to be photographing it), but eventually temptation set in and I asked myself “What would Jack Bauer do?”, the answer being he would mount the scope on a gun and deal with the consequences later. I had already removed the Viper 10x44 from my son’s Air Arms S200 to do the field of view comparison, so on went the Viper Connect instead.

Mounting the Viper Connect is always going to require some forward planning. The double saddle leaves no room for a mount either side, but there is plenty of space to put two mounts forward of the front saddle. I did this on the S200, and I also offered it up to an S400 where there was plenty of space rear of the pellet loading tray. I’m sure the scope can be made to fit any modern PCP with a little thought, and boy am I glad I tried. After just a few shots to zero the scope, I was ready to enjoy the wide field of view offered by the Viper Connect.

Shooting with the Viper Connect

Being lucky enough to have a generous sized garden, I was able to gauge the performance of the scope at all ranges I would be happy to hunt at, and using a variety of different zoom settings. Having my eye right up to the scope soon felt completely natural, and as the light faded I was still able to define my HFT targets and kill zones. Having the scope mounted to the rear of the rifle gave the rig a very fast-handling and well-balanced feeling, especially as the Viper Connect weighs only 575g, and the weight distribution felt ideal.

Zooming right out to the 3X setting gave usable performance right up to the last light, and already I was dreaming of a rabbitting trip. Common sense prevailed, however, as I really did have to return the scope without scratching it. So, were there any niggles with the scope? For me, the flip-open lens cover was hinged on the wrong side; I would want to flip it away from my leading hand to open it. Some shooters might not like the mounts both being at the front of the scope, but there’s no reason to believe the scope is fragile in any way, and I’m sure the tube has strength to spare. An eyebell cup would help cut out stray light, and indeed MTC have that in hand.

In Conclusion

So, my conclusions? A great sporting scope for the PCP user, with great optics, good weight distribution and a low mounting line. Loads of useful innovations and the quality we have all come expect of MTC Optics. I want one.

Author Martin